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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Lemierre syndrome


Other Names for this Disease
  • Lemierre postanginal sepsis
  • Necrobacillosis
  • Oropharyngeal infection leading to secondary septic thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein
  • Postanginal sepsis secondary to orophyngeal infection
  • Septic phlebitis of the internal jugular vein
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Overview

Lemierre syndrome is a rare and potentially life-threatening illness. The bacterium responsible for this disease is typically Fusobacterium necrophorum, although a wide variety of bacteria have been reported as causing the disease. 

The bacterial infection begins in the oropharynx then spreads through the lymphatic vessels. Following this primary infection, thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein (IJV) develops. The final phase of the disease occurs when septic emboli (pus-containing tissue) migrate from their original location in the body to various organs. The lungs are most commonly involved, however other sites may include the joints, muscle, skin and soft tissue, liver, and spleen. 

The symptoms of Lemierre syndrome include fever, sore throat, neck swelling, pulmonary involvement and joint pain. It is an uncommon disease that occurs in about one person per million per year. The disease primarily affects healthy young people before age 40.

Diagnosis of Lemierre syndrome rests on the presence of a blood clot (or clots) in the IJV and blood cultures that show the presence of Fusobacterium necrophorum. Intravenous antibiotics are the mainstay of treatment. 
Last updated: 6/9/2015

References

  1. Srivali N, Ungprasert P, Kittanamongkolchai W, Ammannagari N. Lemierre's syndrome: An often missed life-threatening infection. Indian J Crit Care Med. 2014 Mar; 18(3):170-2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963201/. Accessed 6/9/2015.
  2. Gupta N, Kralovic SM, McGraw D. Lemierre syndrome: not so forgotten!. Am J Crit Care. 2014 Mar; 23(2):176-9. http://ajcc.aacnjournals.org/content/23/2/176.long. Accessed 6/9/2015.
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In Depth Information

  • Orphanet is a European reference portal for¬†information on rare diseases and orphan drugs.¬† Access to this database is free of charge.
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Lemierre syndrome. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Other Names for this Disease
  • Lemierre postanginal sepsis
  • Necrobacillosis
  • Oropharyngeal infection leading to secondary septic thrombophlebitis of the internal jugular vein
  • Postanginal sepsis secondary to orophyngeal infection
  • Septic phlebitis of the internal jugular vein
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.